Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Pazhamozhi 400 – 399

There are trees that yield nothing though they flower;
There are many who are naive though they’ve grown older;
There are seeds that don’t sprout even if sown in fertile soil;
Even if advised, dimwitted will not turn sensible.

பூத்தாலும் காயா மரம் உள; மூத்தாலும்
நன்கு அறியார் தாமும் நனி உளர்; பாத்தி
விதைத்தாலும் நாறாத வித்து உள; பேதைக்கு
உரைத்தாலும் தோன்றாது உணர்வு.

This is from பழமொழி நானூறு (Four hundred Proverbs). Since most of its content is similar to Naaladiyaar, this is thought to have been written after that, possibly around 4th Century AD. These four hundred proverbs were collated and written in verse by Poet Mundrurai Arayanar (முன்றுரை அரையனார்).

There are trees in this world that have flowers blooming in their branches but do not yield any fruits. Similarly, there are many people in this world who have grown older in age yet are ignorant. There are seeds that don’t sprout even if they are sown in fertile farm lands. Similarly, there are dimwitted who will not become sensible even if advised by the wise. Fertile conditions alone do not promise growth. It is only the inherent quality that decides the outcome. Hence it is best to ignore those who refuse to listen.

பூத்தாலும் – even if flowering
காயா – fruit less (not yielding)
உள – there
மூத்தாலும் – even if they grow old
நனி – many
பாத்தி – small division of farm land (fertile soil)
நாறு – sprout நாறாத – not sprouting
வித்து – seed
பேதை – dimwit
உரைத்தாலும் – even if advised
தோன்றாது – will not appear
உணர்வு – sense

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